Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Making work pay in Northern Ireland [March 2002]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 14 March 2002.

The Government’s determination to support families across Northern Ireland and ensure everyone has a real opportunity to work was highlighted by Treasury Minister Dawn Primarolo today.

The Minister was meeting staff and users of Ballybeen Women’s Centre in Belfast as part of a series of visits by Treasury Ministers to discuss the Government’s Pre Budget Report proposals throughout the UK.

Dawn Primarolo said:

“Since 1997 employment in Northern Ireland has grown by 25,000 and 60,000 people are better off thanks to the National Minimum Wage. But the Government is committed to doing more to support families, extend opportunity to all and make work pay.

For example, the children’s tax credit, the first recognition of children in the tax system in a generation, provides up to £520 extra a year for up to 125,000 families in Northern Ireland. The working families tax credit is making work pay for nearly 40,000 families in Northern Ireland. And over 4,000 parents in Northern Ireland claim the childcare tax credit component, which has been vital to helping lone parents back into the work place.

For the first time, through tax credits, the tax system is paying money to families rather than taking it, encouraging families to work without stigmatising them. And we are building on this.

A new system of tax credits to be introduced next year will extend the principle of the working families tax credit to make work pay for those without children as well. And for the first time all support for children will now be paid to the main carer – usually the mother. That is the best way to strengthen families.

We will continue to reform the tax and benefit system to ensure work pays while extending employment opportunity to all. The New Deal has already helped 11,700 young people in Northern Ireland into jobs. In the Pre Budget Report we extended this to incorporate tailored pathways for young people, a pilot mentoring scheme and the New deal for Partners.

The Northern Ireland economy is now growing. The local economy has performed relatively strongly over recent years. I am confident the measures we have introduced since 1997 and the extra support announced in the Pre Budget Report will ensure we have the right framework in place to help it do even better in the future.”